- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has received federal funding to expand a program that pays private owners to let the public use their land for hunting.

The $951,400 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help the DNR take the Hunting Access Program to the northern Lower Peninsula.

The program started in 1977 in southern Michigan, where most land is privately owned.

Wildlife biologist Mike Parker says efforts to enroll participants will focus on agricultural areas in northern Michigan where public land is scarce. Grant funds also will be used to restore wildlife habitat by building up grassland, forests and food plots.

The DNR says it plans to continue taking the program to new areas in the next three years, including the eastern Upper Peninsula.

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